3 Tips: How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

Sciatica implies the leg’s nerve pain that is involved by irritation or/and compression of the sciatic nerve. Due to it, the patient finds it difficult to perform daily activities such as bending or sitting, and also it prevents sound sleep at night. The right position will work as a trigger to bring sleep so here we discuss how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica.

A study associated with chronic low back pain shows insomnia or sleeplessness had become a growing common symptom of these types of patients. Here are both good and bad sciatica relief positions.

Sleeping On The Back

According to the expert, sleeping on the back is considered the best sleeping position for sciatica patients. The inside hack is the pain originates from the irritated sciatic nerve. That’s why the patient has to minimize the pressure from the sciatic nerve area, lumbar discs, and lower back.

For that position, you have to lie flat on your back at first and ensure that your whole body is resting by contacting the bed. After that, elevate your knees at a position so that you can keep some pillows beneath them.

You should keep pillows until you find comfy as well as feel no pain and support (better to keep two depending on the pillow’s thickness). However, if this position can’t offer much comfort, you can place some additional pillow on the backside, under the neck, and under your arms.

Sleeping on the side

Sleeping on the side is the second-best position for the sciatica patient. Sleeping on the side works well to provide necessary relief from the pain and it also helps to minimize the pressure from the patient’s lower back.  Moreover, this sciatica sleep position refrains from sleep directly on the back therefore no pressure will on the disc, sciatica nerve, and muscles.

To get more benefits, it becomes important to keep your spine aligned, keeps the hip straight, and curled up the knees slightly towards your chest. After that, you need to push your knees slightly towards your chest, and then keep them bent so that it looks like a 90-degree angle.

Now, take some pillow and keep it between your knees and it will reduce the pressure from the sciatic nerve.  Moreover, sleeping with pillow between legs will stop the spine from rotating.

However, to ensure more support, it will be better to keep a pillow beneath your waist area.

This placing will ensure keeping body position similar the whole night and also ensure no pressure on your lower back while sleeping.

Sleep on The Stomach (should avoid)

If you are a sciatica patient, sleep on the stomach is not considered good sleeping positions for sciatica relief instead it is absolutely terrible. This position pulls the low back (downwards) results in causing irritation and inflammation, making the pain worse. Sleep on the stomach will not only elevate your pain level but also damage the nerve.

Moreover, this position may contribute to causing damage and injury to herniated disc, lower back nerves, and muscles. Also, while sleeping on the stomach your neck is twisted, so it may cause new issues of neck and upper back pain.That’s why the expert recommends avoiding this sleeping position even though you are not a sciatica patient.

How To Prevent Sciatica Pain While Sleeping?

Take A Bath Before Sleep

A warm bath prior to sleep is a trigger of releasing pain-fighting endorphins and also keeps relaxing your muscles that lie around the sciatic nerve roots. Here one point should keep in mind as you should keep the water warm not so hot. If you shower with hot water, it will elevate your body temperature that eventually creates a problem in sleeping.

Make Sure That Your Mattress Is Not Too Soft And Too Firm

You need to pay a lot of attention while choosing your mattress if you are suffering from sciatica or lower back pain. While choosing, you need to examine whether it is too soft or too firm because the wrong choice may worsen your sciatica pain when lying down on it. The mattress on where you sleep must provide proper support as well as cushion and also isn’t saggy.

However, as to notify you, the too soft mattress won’t align your spine properly, can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causes muscle strains, and so on. Nevertheless, the too firm mattress may bend your spin downward that will cause a poor S-shaped or unhealthy curve of your spine, some of your body muscles can’t relax fully, etc.

N.B: Keep in mind that, your back pain or sciatica will increase if your mattress is unable to provide proper support. In that case, you have better to put a piece of plywood in between the mattress and box spring. 

Choose The Right Pillow

Similar to the mattress, a pillow also plays an important role for sciatica and lower back pain patients. Once you choose the right pillow from different alternatives, it will be beneficial for you with lower back pain and sciatica. Some pillows naturally conform to the head, neck, spine, shoulder, and hip’s natural curvature. Others protect the pressure point that eventually helps to mitigate back pains.

That’s why, when you go for choosing your pillow for sciatica, you have to consider the pillow type, your sleeping position, your head size, shoulder width, pillow thickness, and your pillow placing gap.

Here the gap means the space between the bed and your body parts like the neck, lower back, and beneath the knees. Moreover, your selected pillow should be adjusted with your body’s shape, curves, and sleeping position.

Stop Worrying

Taking much pressure, overthink, and worrying will retard you from getting sound sleep. Those tasks will increase your brain’s activity. Moreover, some habits like entertaining negative thoughts and watching the clock will elevate anxiety that results in increasing the pain levels.

Choosing Your Sleeping Position

The last thing that we’re going to start off with is finding the right position to sleep, which is probably the most important thing. Just getting comfortable, being able to pass out, and taking the pressure off the back will ensure when you can select the right sleeping position. Here are two comfortable positions for sciatica patience.

  1. Lie flat on the back
  2. Sleep on the side.

Why is my sciatica worse when I lie down?

You already know the best position for sciatica patients. But sometimes some issue ignites sciatica pain when lying down even though ensuring the right position. Here we discuss those issues.

  1. As you know the worst sleeping position for sciatica patients is lie in the stomach. This position will rotate your pelvis forward and flattens out the spine’s natural curve. It will quickly fire up the sciatic nerve.
  2. As we mentioned, sleep on the side is considered the best position but sometimes this position worsens the sciatica pain at night. The number one trigger is when you sleep on the side having sciatic issues; the weight will aggravate the nerve root that results in worsening the pain. Moreover, when you lie on the opposite of the affected side that will raise the affected side a bit too high and pinch the nerve. So, find out your ease area by experimenting.
  3. Another best position is to lie on the back but it also ignites the sciatica pain when lying down. This sleeping position can cause a condition named lumbar spinal stenosis. Naturally, our nerves exit the spinal column, and those nerves move by opening (foramina). When you sleep on the back those openings can shrink and then pinch the nerves. You need to keep a pillow under knees for sciatica pain relief caused by that issue.

FAQ: how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica

Why does sciatica get worse at night?

If you sleep in a curled or fetal position that pinches the nerve, it will lead to worsen sciatica at night. Moreover, when you lie in the stomach, your sciatica will get worse at night.

Is sleeping on the floor good for your back?

Naturally, when you sleep on your back it helps to keep your head, neck, and spin in a neutral position. Therefore, you don’t feel any extra pressure in those areas, and then it helps to feel less pain.

Does sleeping on the floor help your back?

Sleeping on the floor is not a new practice instead we saw it in many cultures. Some believe that floor-sleeping helps to lessen back pain but there is no proven evidence. However, this is considered ideal for those who have a chronic condition or limited mobility.

Final Thought:

Naturally, without getting a night of sound sleep, we can’t pass a blissful next day. If you are suffering from lower back pain and sciatica, sound sleep probably becomes a nightmare. But a good position and tips for sciatica will bring back your sound sleep. Hopefully, our discussion on how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica will mitigate your issue significantly.

Helpful Resource:
Complete Guide: Read our full post- Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain

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